Lynda Fritz was my first supervisor when I arrived at the Los Altos Neighborhood Library. She was a hoot – plain spoken and completely devoted to the patrons. She lived across the street from Minnie Gant Elementary School just a few blocks from the library and walked to work. Almost every morning before her shift began, she would greet the kids heading off to school. On rainy days, she would put on her “hip waders” and splash her way to work. Lynda loved books. She could name every title in a mystery series if anyone asked her. She wasn’t much on cooking but owned many of them. Her house was filled with piles of books with aisles in-between. She was from St. Louis and dreamed of going back there to visit. In the meantime, Lynda purchased just about every travel book published for the library. She remembered the bad budget days and hated to withdraw books from the collection. As a result, book storage expanded to the office and several shelves in the workroom. Due to arthritis, it was difficult for Lynda to sit so the library carpenter built her a custom standing desk top. She was the official greeter of the library and knew almost everyone by name. The one event she never missed was the Kentucky Derby – that was the only day she might take a longer lunch. Favorite holiday? Halloween, naturally. What else could it be for a devout cat lover?
Many in the neighborhood came to her retirement party and had an opportunity to tell her brother Richard what an amazing sister he had. To this day, patrons and the staff who worked with her remember her as the heart of Los Altos.
Pam also sent Lynda’s obit from the October 26, 2006 Press Telegram, written by Kristopher Hanson:
She championed free speech, adored Long Beach and cherished books, reading and the libraries to which she devoted her professional career.
In an age where many are reluctant to pick up one or two books a year, Lynda Sellers Fritz averaged 10 per week. Her brother, Richard Sellers, estimates she read more than 20,000 books in her life.
“Most were read for pure pleasure rather than as a job requirement,” he wrote in a note to the Press-Telegram. “Great books, good books, even third-rate books and especially mysteries. She loved them one and all.”
The longtime librarian, who spent 21 years running the Long Beach Library’s Los Altos Branch, died October 18 of complications from a form of leukemia. She was 67.
Lynda’s career at Long Beach libraries began in 1964, shortly after her graduation from USC, where she earned a master’s degree in Library Science.
In addition to the Los Altos Branch, Lynda worked at the Burnett, Mark Twain, Brewitt, Main, North and Dana branches.